Switching Kingsnake to F/T?

I know, I know. Kingsnakes are supposed to be voracious eaters, right? I have what seems to be the only exception for the whole species.

I got my Thayer’s/Variable King back in July and he refuses to eat anything but live. Our other king (a Brooks) took to frozen from the getgo and has not missed a single meal, even when deep in blue.

Our picky Thayeri is still on pinkies, but he won’t take any frozen/thawed even if I brain them or scent them with soiled bedding. It’s also tough for me to get live pinkies consistently every week.

The worst part about it is he won’t even coil when he eats them, he just eats and often times the pinkie isn’t even dead. I can’t keep feeding my snake like this as I’m worried he’ll end up getting seriously injured, but I haven’t had any luck switching him to frozen thawed. I’ve tried braining, scenting them in soiled bedding, and still nothing.

I currently own six snakes and all have converted over to frozen/thawed with little to no problem. Help!

Have you tried any methods of heating up the f/t pinky, such as hot water or a hair dryer?

Scenting with Tuna? Taking the snake and putting them and pinky in a small dark container? Leaving pinky on a small plate over the heated area for a portion of the day? Feeding at night?

Could try only offering f/t and not giving in to the snake wanting live? Eventually snake will eat. Don’t think I’ve ever heard of a snake deliberately starving themselves…

I have exclusively kept thayeri (leonis now) for 25 years. They usually eat well, but can be picky at first or when they change homes and routines.

It seems like you’re trying the usual tricks, and those usually work. One thing that almost always works with thayeri for me is to boil the thawed pinky for 5-10 minutes. Let it cool down, and then feed it. Since yours prefers live, use forceps to present the pinky wiggling around and crawling away from your snake. That almost always works - even for ones that no other tricks have succeeded with.

If that fails, and the animal is in good condition, a short brumation period usually gets their juices going and they wake up wanting food. But since your animal is eating live, I see no reason to do this now. But I would consider starting F/T food after the first time you do brumate it.

Good luck.

Boiling?? That seems…counterintuitive. I thought they need it raw? Why does that help I wonder. Is it just something you do like 1 or 2 times or consistently? I thought they have to have it raw to get the full nutrition

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I usually only boil to get a reluctant hatchling to begin feeding on pinkies. After that, no more boiling.

Don’t know why it works - but it works more consistently on thayeri than any other trick short of feeding lizards.

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Interesting. Gonna file that away just in case. I’d rather make that the thing I’d try right before assist feed.

I’ll try scenting with tuna for the next feeding attempt and see if that works better than scenting with mouse bedding/mouse brain.

Failing that, I may try the cooking method just until I can get him to take f/t on their own. It seems weird, but I definitely want this guy eating f/t consistently and as soon as possible. I wonder if boiling brings out the natural scent of the mouse more than just thawing?

Just keep in mind that it not eating is not a huge worry unless it loses 10% of its body weight. So don’t freak. If it doesnt eat a few meals it isn’t a time to panic. Just keep working with it.

Oh, absolutely. One of my ball pythons went just over two months without eating when we first got him and I just monitored his weight weekly. He eats like a champ now, even when he’s in shed.

It’s just frustrating and I haven’t experienced this with a king before.

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